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ABC exec calls Heigl's latest remarks "unfortunate" - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 8th 2009 5:55PM
ABC logoABC president Steve McPherson just finished holding court at his network's executive session. Not much in the way of news came up, but when an astute critic -- namely me -- brought up Katherine Heigl's latest foot-in-mouth incident, McPherson didn't mince words.

He called the Grey's star's remarks -- where she complained on several talk shows about her 17-hour first day back on the set, a day that supposedly was created to accommodate her promotional schedule for The Ugly Truth -- "unfortunate." He continued: "It is what it is. People are going to choose to behave the way they behave." He felt especially bad for the show's behind-the-scenes crew, who also put in those long hours without complaint; "It's really hard for the people busting their tails every day to hear that (from Heigl)." He later said that "I'm not going to try to explain someone else's behavior," and repeated the word "unfortunate" once again.

Other tidbits:
  • He was "shocked" to hear of Paula Abdul's departure from Idol. He's put a call into her -- they're old friends -- and has told her he'd definitely like to have her on the ABC in some capacity. When a critic asked if she would fit on Dancing with the Stars, McPherson wouldn't rule that out.
  • McPherson wouldn't take our bait regarding the Leno move at NBC, or Ben Silverman's departure. "NBC is in a big transition right now. We're eager to see what happens with Leno." He still wants the network system to remain vibrant, so he wants to see how NBC will do here. It's easy for the guy who goes last to be magnanimous when everyone before him already took their shots, no?
  • Ugly Betty will stay in New York this year, but that will be re-evaluated next year depending on if the city keeps giving production companies tax breaks.
  • As we already know, Ellen Pompeo's pregnancy will probably keep her off Grey's Anatomy for an indeterminate period of time. No major casting changes will be made, though there might be some additions. McPherson didn't give any more details.
  • Romantically Challenged, a sitcom starring Kyle Bornheimer and Alyssa Milano, is slated for midseason.
  • He was coy on the premiere date of V, pushing that to the panel that ends the day. But rumor has it -- according to Amber Ray at Metro -- the show will debut on November 3.

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Guess Who

I love how people that play make believe on TV for millions a year complain about anything. Any reasonable person would realize they have hit the life lottery, shut the hell up, work for few years - and laugh all the way to the bank.

How many of you would work 17 hours a day for even half of what Heigl made that day?

August 09 2009 at 3:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Guess Who's comment
am_hollitz

Yeah, stars make millions, but if she's truly unhappy doing what she's doing, money doesn't mean much.

Besides, statistically, the very rich are just as broke as the rest of us. They have houses, cars, and kids. They spend the proportionate same amount of their income on these things as you or I do.

Add to that, they're doling out 10 - 20% of their pre-tax income to their agent, 3-5% for personal assistants, 5-10% for stylists, etc. And then all of the sudden, when they get a wrinkle, or turn a little gray, they're offered increasingly terrible roles just to make ends meet, or they lose their job (provided there's not some writer's strike preventing them from working to begin with.)

Nah, you can keep the job.

August 11 2009 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James

Sorry Scott but I want to know where your psychic mind reading abilities come from. I mean because since you obviously know when she's joking and when she's NOT, you must've had the uncanny ability to READ minds. I mean the fact that she stated ON the David Letterman Show AND the fact that she even JOKED about it and they had FUN with the comment was pretty obvious that her comment was in a JOKING manner. You ask why would she joke about this? The question is WHO cares why she joked about it? It seems that people are too stupid to see a joking comment when it's in front of them. I guess this is that idiot hater syndrome that is going around the internets. And it's sad that McPherson, someone working for ABC didn't see that. How sad it is when people can't see a joke when it's right in front of them.

August 09 2009 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to James's comment
Scott R

No psychic capabilities here. Let me explain my reasoning as you so kindly asked for.
I'm referring to the interview on youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxh-ihSUOTk , for the times.

1. 0:58 - Heigl: "I'm going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them, a 17 hour day" Dave: "Really?" Heigl:"which I think is cruel and mean"

To me, this is it right here. Why would she want to embarrass them? And if this was a joke, why would she mention 'them' and embarrassment? Dave seems surprised too, then asks if she was filming 17 straight hours.

2. 1:05 - I know what a deadpan expression is. This is not one of them. No little smile at the end to the crowd, no sarcastic diva style comment about how it wrecks her hair, just an expression of mild disgust. There's a slight awkward mumble from the crowd. They obviously don't know how to react.

3. 1:10- Do you see Dave laughing? Smiling? His question is there to let her 'get to the joke' if there is one. She answers 'yes' and moves on (to admittedly more happy thoughts).

And finally, its not fans that were originally upset at her comments, it's the producers. McPherson thought it was a slight, hence the response in the above story. Producer Ken Levine, http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2009/07/why-i-hate-katherine-heigl-again.html , also disapproves for the same reasons, though his 'hate' is too much imo.

I originally didn't care much about Heigl, but the Internet also seems to breed 'super-fans' that champion this or that star and never admit that they could do anything wrong. They call people idiots for not 'getting it', and call others sexist or racist or bigoted when it's possible (like HM's comments above). That's whom I'm actually more annoyed with.

August 09 2009 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy_MO

The should have dumped thsi woman when they had the chance. I can stand either the character or the actress anymore. She gets paid several millions every year, so if the network expects 17 hour days then suck it up and deal with it, whiner.

August 08 2009 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
evie

I barely follow this stuff and yet I keep hearing about Heigl's complaining to the media. The first time it happened, maybe ABC was unaware, but they renewed her contract knowing this is her schtick. I'm guessing they like the publicity it brings, though I have no doubt it's demoralizing for the crew who worked -- without sitting in their trailers for most of the day -- so she could be a movie star.

I hate the entitlement some of these people embrace. Most of them don't realize their 15 minutes is fleeting. Graciousness is forever. Her co-star, what's-his-name Dempsey, could probably tell her what it's like to be the young, hot thing and then cold for a very long time.

August 08 2009 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hg

How does joking with Letterman about her long work day qualify as "bad behavior" equivalent to "being a bitch on set"? Your post merely proves my point, Mike.

August 08 2009 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to hg's comment
Mike Rogus

Ok, consider this: At your job you ask for time off because you couldn't get out of a prior obligation at your other job. Your boss says ok, but also says that you have to work a double shift the next day to make up for it. You agree to work the shift but when you come into work the next day all you do is whine about what an asshole your boss is for making you work a double shift.

Bad. Behavior. Plain and simple. Except that it's even worse than that because they had to work around her schedule the ENTIRE production had to work a long shift with her. and if they hadn't they would have lost a day of pay. does she care? Doubt it.

August 08 2009 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott R

And that was no joke ( did you hear any laughter? ). It was first class whining all the way. Why would you joke about something you asked for in the first place? McPherson's comments about the support crew was right on.

Christian Bale's tirade was much worse, but he's apologized for being a douchebag. Heigl seems to thinks it's everyone else's problem so far.

August 08 2009 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hg

What's "unfortunate" is the media's incessant need to vilify this woman. Key word being "woman." This isn't 17th Century Salem, folks. Keep up.

August 08 2009 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hg's comment
Mike Rogus

and because she's a woman she can't be called out for bad behaviour? I remember people calling Christian Bale to task for being a bitch on set but that's fine because he's a man.

Heaven forbid you expect someone to act professional. Sorry I must just be sexist. BURN THE WITCH!

August 08 2009 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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